Sunday, 3 October 2010

600 years has never looked so good

Last week, my roommates and I went to a welcoming assembly for the postgraduates here at St Andrews. As you can imagine, putting nearly 600 masters and phd students into a room together created a lot of nerdy conversations! Everyone was inquiring as to what each person was studying, pulling out random biology facts from high school in response to a conversation with a science student, or retorting with "I've been to [insert random old place here]" when speaking to a classics student. As we were all trying to find our niche among this class of students, the doors to the auditorium of Younger Hall swished open and the sound of bagpipes came echoing into the bustling auditorium. Everyone fell silent and stood up. A dashing young man, fully complete with kilt and bagpipes, led the procession of important administrators and student leaders to the stage. It was at that moment that I knew I was in the right place. All of my fears subsided and I knew that it would all be ok.

The principal of students, Louise Richardson, stood up to address us. As she walked to the podium, the name ran through my head over and over. Louise Richardson...I've heard that name somewhere before. Then, I turned to my roommate Kayla, who was beaming from ear to ear, and I realized that it was THE Louise Richardson. The woman. The myth. The legend. For those of you who don't know, she is one of the leading scholars on terrorism and counter-terrorism in the world. For lack of a better word, she's kind of a big deal. A really big deal, in fact. She spoke eloquently and poignantly, reminding us that we are the future and that it's our job to start shaping it. She also began by pointing out that we are a special group of people because we are the 600th class of students to enter this institution. 600 years ago this fall, students gathered to begin studying at this amazing institution and we are following in their footsteps. 600 years ago, when painters like Brunelleschi and and Da Vinci were refining their skills and many of the great cathedrals of Europe were being built, students arrived from various parts of Europe to open their minds to the joy of learning. After hearing her speech, everything was put into perspective. It truly is incredible to be part of such a historic institution of high academic achievement. I didn't realize I would become attached to this place so quickly, especially as homecoming weekend at Holy Cross is drawing to an end and I am 3000 miles away from Fitton Field. However, as the bagpiper led the procession of highly accomplished administrators and academics out of Younger Hall and we got up to leave, I looked around to my friends sitting beside me, stepped out into the rain and smiled.

No comments:

Post a Comment